I recently shared an image on LinkedIn on the evolution of the employee, and it went bonkers; like it went completely viral. It became the most popular thing that I have ever shared on LinkedIn. It’s fascinating because this is something I wrote about in 2014 and the whole concept was looking at how employees are changing and how the idea of employees is changing. And even though I wrote about it in 2014, it was manifesting slower–then Covid hit, and suddenly, this became a reality.

It’s important to go through this evolution so that you can understand what you need to do as a leader, what you need to do as an organization, or even what you need to be doing and thinking about it as an individual contributor.

In the past, employees were working nine to five and we’ve had an evolution towards working anytime. The idea of working nine to five and setting 32 or 40 hours a week is a concept that is probably almost 100 years old.

And why are the hours after five o’clock designated for personal time? I think technology has been the great equalizer here. Because technology allows us to stay connected to work anytime, anywhere, on any device. So, we’re moving away from this concept of work-life balance to work-life integration.

The whole concept here is that work-life integration is about you, as an employee, deciding how you should be working, what makes the most sense for you. If you want to work nine to five, and that’s how you choose to spend your time, hey, more power to you. So, it’s my choice. It’s my freedom. It’s my flexibility. This is what work-life integration is all about. The challenge is you need to set boundaries, working anytime efficiently. But it would help if you also were more accountable and responsible for shutting off. This means having self-awareness and paying attention to if you’re getting burned out.

The next one that goes very much in parallel with this is this concept of the past. The past is working in the corporate office and the future is working anywhere. But for organizations that want more, they want to grow, they want to scale, they want to identify complex problems, they want to identify unique opportunities, they want to move beyond just getting stuff done. In that kind of environment, there is still a lot of room for improvement.

We’re not just talking about productivity; we’re not just talking about getting things done. We’re talking about going beyond that. Tackling complex challenges, identifying new opportunities, creating trust, and psychological safety, being influential leaders, if we want to take it one step further. And you know what, there is still very much a place for in-person work. I do believe that, and guess what? All the executives that I’ve been interviewing think that now that role for in-person work doesn’t mean that you’re going to be in an office nine to five. It might mean you show up for a couple of hours a day or it might mean you show up once or twice a week–it might mean any number of things. That’s what workplace flexibility is all about.

Work is no longer a place that you go to work, it is something that you carry with you; You can pretty much get anything done on your smartphone or on a laptop that you can take with you. So, technology is pushing this forward. So that’s another significant evolution that we’re seeing.


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The third way is moving away from using company equipment towards using the device. We’re very much moving towards a world where people are using their own devices to get work done. And not only their own devices, but they’re finding their software. Suppose your organization offers software that employees believe is tedious and time-consuming, ineffective, and inefficient, and it’s not beautiful, helpful, and valuable. Why aren’t you going to use it? We’re moving away from having to use company-sanctioned hardware towards the employees using their laptops, their phones, using their cameras, their microphone, and anything else they need. Give employees access to tools and platforms that emulate the things you’re using for personalized use like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google and all these other easy-to-use platforms; it should be just as easy to get stuff done inside of our organizations as it is to do things in our personal lives.

The next one is the past is focused on inputs. Does your manager see you at your desk doing work, completing tasks? We’re moving away from that and concentrating now on the outputs. What have you done? Would you instead that employee be working somewhere else, let’s say working from home, if they are able to put four hours in,  but the work that they’re doing is impressive. It’s high-quality work; they’re used to their job, they’re coming to work each day with new ideas and opportunities, they are doing a fantastic job. That’s the mentality that we need to have. And that’s the visual that I want you to have. It’s not the time that matters, it’s the quality of work. So, this is a significant shift that we’re seeing, moving from inputs to focusing more on outputs,

The next one is moving away from climbing the corporate ladder to building your ladder. The exciting thing with creating your ladder is that technology, again, has made this the great equalizer. Because what I mean by creating your ladder, I suggest that you can shape your career path and your trajectory in the size of your organization.

One of the ways you can do that is through technology, by participating in relevant conversations, joining employee resource groups that are relevant to you seeking out opportunities pertinent to your organization that are tangential to what you’re currently working on. But if you want to be able to create your ladder, part of what that means is that you need to step up, you need to let your voice be heard, you need to use these technologies that are out there, to speak up, you need to participate in the employee resource groups that are out there, all of this is going to be essential for you if you want to create that corporate ladder.

We’re starting to see that a lot of leaders wish to do this. They want you to speak up, they want you to give them feedback, they want you to let them know what you care about and what you value, you can very much start to shape your ladder. Now employees have more power than they ever did before. An organization does not want to lose people; it would much rather keep you in transition into another role that you would find more suitable for the work that you’re doing. So take advantage of the opportunity. Speak up if you’re in a position and don’t want to keep climbing that corporate ladder.

The next one that we have here is predefined work to customize work. When I say customized work, this is a lot based on the technologies that we’re using, the resource groups, your ability to speak up inside of your organization, your ability to let people know what you’re interested in and what you care about. And now, what I think we’re starting to see, especially with this concept of employee experience, it’s the organization acknowledging and saying, we’re not going to tell you what to do. We’re not going to create the work for you, we’re going to design it with you. So, you tell us, what do you care about? What are your values? What do you get out of it? What’s your purpose? And so we’re starting to see a lot of customization on work based on employees speaking up and based on employees using the different technologies that are out there.


There are 6 trends that are transforming leadership forever do you know what they are and are you ready for them? Download the PDF to learn what these 6 trends are and what you should be doing about each one of them. These are crucial for your leadership and career development in the future of work!


The next one after this is moving away from hoarding information to sharing information. Today, we’re seeing this massive shift, where the employees help others get recognized and rewarded. If the people share their ideas, identify new opportunities, or tackle complex challenges, they get rewarded. Technology, again, has been an essential factor in this because it’s easy for us to share information across anytime, anywhere, and on any device. That will make you more successful inside of your organization.

We’re starting to see a move away from this idea of not having a voice inside of your organization and a move towards the idea that anybody can become a leader inside your company. So now you have a tremendous voice. You have immense power and responsibility, and we’re moving towards creating a place where anybody can become a leader. A leader is not a title that is bestowed upon you. A leader is a mindset. It’s a skill set. The future Leader is about helping make other people more successful than you. It’s about thinking like a futurist having a growth mindset. You don’t need permission from other people to do these things. You can do these things yourself. Anybody now can become a leader inside of an organization, you have that voice, use that voice. Don’t ask for permission; ask for forgiveness.

The next one is moving away from relying on email to relying on collaboration technologies. Now, I’m not saying that email will completely disappear or vanish because I don’t think it will. But email used to be the primary form of communicating and collaborating inside of an organization. Look at the number of tools and resources we have at our disposal to communicate and collaborate. We have Zoom meetings and so many different platforms and channels at our disposal.

The next one is moving away from focusing on knowledge to adaptive learning. And really what this means is not being a knowledge worker but being a learning worker. You need to learn how to learn; you must become a learning machine. Now, the good news is today you have access to YouTube, Coursera, Udemy, Khan Academy and so many different tools and resources are out there, there is no excuse for why you cannot learn anything that you need to know to be personally or professionally successful. It would help if you learned how to learn, take things into your own hands, don’t wait for anybody else to tell you what you need to know. Organizations will say, look, we’re going to help you as best as we can. But ultimately, you are going to be responsible for your growth, your trajectory, and your future.

And the last one is about corporate learning and training. In the past, anything that you wanted to know you’d have to sign up for a seminar or a training program and you would have to wait a few weeks or months. So corporate education and training are seeing a significant evolution. Part of what we’re starting to see is that anybody is a teacher, and anybody can be a student. In other words, as a company, you can’t assume that you are responsible for all education and training; you need to do a better job of connecting your people. Let them educate and train each other.

This is the evolution of the employee. And this is what I think we’re starting to see much more of in organizations around the world.

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